Steven Stamkos' message to Lightning: Keep it going
With the playoffs set to begin Wednesday, the Lightning will be missing a key piece, captain and leading scorer Steven Stamkos.
But Stamkos, 26, who underwent vascular surgery last week to fix a blood clot, apparently hasn't given up hope on playing again this season.
Several teammates visited Stamkos in the hospital in Tampa Monday afternoon, saying the All-Star is in "good spirits," but had a message.
"You can tell he wants to be there (on the ice)," wing Alex Killorn said. "In the case he could come back, he really wants to make sure we go back to the final to give him a chance to play again this season. That was kind of his message, 'Just go to the finals and maybe I'll see you guys.'"
Stamkos is expected to be out 1-3 months, surgery performed April 4. A key will be an ultrasound next week which will determine how long he'll be on blood thinners. Stamkos' family is in town with him in the hospital, and he's expected to go home soon, Killorn said.
Killorn, Valtteri Filppula and Ryan Callahan visited Stamkos Monday. A few others dropped by to see him before their last road trip. Brian Boyle said it's "impressive" how even-keeled Stamkos is despite the situation.
"He's our captain, he's our leader," Killorn said. "He's huge for this team, not only on the ice but off it. He'll be missed for sure. We've just got to keep it going."